Today’s news:

Bike share is coming to Brooklyn!

The Brooklyn Paper

What’s good for Barcelona now appears good for Brooklyn.

The city is searching for a vendor to run the borough’s first bike share program — a two-wheeled rental initiative — a top Transportation official confirmed Wednesday night.

“We’re putting together a request for proposals,” said Borough Commissioner Joseph Palmieri, using the city jargon for the formalized search process.

Palmieri said that Downtown is a key location for the program, but it will be up to the winning bidder to propose the geographic confines of the rental zone.

Cyclists cheered the news, which Palmieri discussed at a meeting of the new Boerum Hill Traffic Task Force.

“I welcome it and encourage it,” said Boerum Hill resident and cycling advocate Louie Fleck. “It will encourage people to see the benefits of biking, and it will be a low cost way for people to experiment using a bike as a form of transportation.”

And seasoned cyclists will benefit, too.

“There are plenty of times when I have the energy in the morning, but not at night, and this would allow me to bike one way and not the other,” Fleck noted.

Already in place in cities such as Paris, Barcelona, Montreal and Denver, the program relies on a series of locales where bikes are made available for a fee.

In November, the city announced its search for a vendor to run the program in Manhattan, in an unspecified area south of 60th Street, touting technology that has made theft virtually non-existent in places such as London and Washington, D.C.

The Manhattan proposal called for a system that included stations located every few blocks. The public can buy into a membership plan, and trips longer than 30 minutes would likely be assessed a small charge, as the program is meant for short trips.

“Typically, you use credit cards to gain access to the bikes,” noted Downtown Brooklyn Transportation Coordinator Chris Hrones. “The key is to have enough stations at enough strategic locations that it becomes convenient to make short little trips form here to there,” he said.

The Manhattan project is slated to begin in 2012, and a pilot program will be tested this summer. No date was available yet for Brooklyn’s version.

Updated 12:11 pm, May 11, 2012: Now reflects a clearer understanding of what happened when.
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Reader Feedback

Cynthia from Clinton Hill says:
I like this idea bike sharing, hoping they sanitize bike seats in the mean time.
March 16, 2011, 8:55 am
D from Crown Heights says:
Sounds like a useful way for people who can't afford cars to go places that the subway doesn't go. Middle class FTW!
March 16, 2011, 9:37 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
this won't work in NYC...too many bad people.
March 16, 2011, 10:47 am
Nathan H. from Downtown Brooklyn says:
I don't share your low opinion of New Yorkers, Joey, but if New York (unlike Barcelona, really?) has too many bad folks for a bicycle share, why on earth do we let them drive around all crazy and hit and kill people with cars?
March 16, 2011, 12:02 pm
Steve from PPW says:
It works in London, which has a higher crime rate than in NYC. Bring it!
March 16, 2011, 12:07 pm
K from Williamsburg says:
@D, middle class all the way! We could learn something from Copenhagen, whose bike share has a maintenance job training program... and dedicated lanes with barriers from car traffic.
March 16, 2011, 2:26 pm
joe says:
the RFP was for all of NYC, not Brooklyn. They MAY look to start a bike sharing program here, not definitely. Get the facts right guys!
March 16, 2011, 2:56 pm
Paul A. from Bay Ridge/ Ft. Hamilton says:
In theory it sounds possible way to relieve the traffic problems of too many cars on the road but we have to realize that this is New York not Paris, Copenhagen or Barcelona. We move at a faster pace and as far as sharing bikes we would have a problem of maintenance of the bikes being shared. There is also a few questions of insurance if any injuries occur. The street conditions, people opening car doors or someone walking into a bike lane & being struck. Lawyers will love this! How about people using cell phones etc while on a bike. I have seen this & have had a number of close calls myself. If the people of New York can use their collective heads and respect others this could really help change our city.
March 16, 2011, 3:39 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
How silly - lets catch up to the Europeans . . .those people we had to bail out twice last century.
March 17, 2011, 12:03 am

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